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Lock-in and the Costs of Switching Mainframe Computer Vendors: What Do Buyers See?

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  • Greenstein, Shane M

Abstract

This paper closely studies the historical experiences of computer users faced with incompatibility problems. One key point throughout the discussion is that operating system compatibilities and application software were the principal source of switching costs. The larger point here is that vendor specificity is partially a choice-variable for the buyer. It influences many facets of an organization, as well as management and employee behavior. Foresighted users anticipate that daily decisions regarding programming practices and equipment maintenance influence the costs of switching during a later vendor decision. Buyers take a wide variety of actions, both simple and complex. Most of the paper is concerned with documenting and analyzing how buyers change investments, collect information, manipulate bidding procedures and change managements practices--either in anticipation of, or in response to, incompatibility problems. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Greenstein, Shane M, 1997. "Lock-in and the Costs of Switching Mainframe Computer Vendors: What Do Buyers See?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 247-273, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:6:y:1997:i:2:p:247-73
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    Cited by:

    1. Krafft, Jackie & Salies, Evens, 2008. "The diffusion of ADSL and costs of switching Internet providers in the broadband industry: Evidence from the French case," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 706-719, May.
    2. Mikko Mustonen, 2005. "Signalling cost with investment in compatibility," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 39-57, April.
    3. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Greenstein, Shane, 1999. "Technological Competition and the Structure of the Computer Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 1-40, March.
    4. Jackie Krafft & Evens Salies, 2006. "The cost of switching Internet providers in the French broadband industry, or why ADSL has diffused faster than other innovative technologies"," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2006-16, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    5. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/962 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Corrocher, Nicoletta & Fontana, Roberto, 2008. "Objectives, obstacles and drivers of ICT adoption: What do IT managers perceive?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 229-242, September.
    7. Jackie Krafft & Evens Salies, 2008. "The cost of switching Internet providers in the broadband industry, or why ADSL has diffused faster than other innovative technologies: Evidence from the French case," Post-Print hal-00203512, HAL.
    8. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2016. "Multiple Standards: the Case of the French Building Industry," Policy Papers 2016.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

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